John Marhefka knew his career would turn down a new path when he sold his Maryland bank. But shortly after starting down that path, he came to a fork.

Less than a year after selling Bank of Annapolis to a local bank, Mr. Marhefka faced a choice: start another bank or join one.

He chose the latter. Last week Mr. Marhefka became chief executive of Annapolis National Bank, abandoning plans to form State Capital Bank just weeks before an initial public offering was to be held.

Annapolis National's board had been looking for a chief executive and persuaded Mr. Marhefka to take the job.

"Rather than starting my own company from scratch, I decided it would be better to have a $100 million-asset company with six offices," he said.

Mr. Marhefka founded Bank of Annapolis in 1989. It was the most successful of several banks formed in eastern Maryland in the late '80s and early '90s.

Mr. Marhefka sold it to Sandy Spring Bancorp of Olney, Md., which wanted to expand in the state capital.

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